Is the “Happening Subjectivity” Still a Subject? Marc Richir’s Conception of Subjective Identity


In contemporary French phenomenology, subjectivity is reconsidered as a receiving instance of the phenomenon understood as an event. That is why French authors characterize subjectivity as the “subject” to whom appearing is given (Jean-Luc Marion’s adonné), as the “happening subject” (Henri Maldiney’s existent open to events or Claude Romano’s advenant), or as the subject ceaselessly in movement (Renaud Barbaras’ désir or Marc Richir’s aspiration infinie). In this study situated within the framework of the work of Marc Richir, I present his dynamic conception of subjectivity, and then demonstrate why it still makes sense to speak – even in this case of an extremely dynamic receiving instance of appearing – of a “subject” in the sense of Latin sub-jacere (“under-throw”). More precisely, I argue that the conception of “happening subjectivity” necessarily allows for a certain type of subjective persistence or identity – in the sense of a sameness that resists or underlies all changes. In contrast to the classical phenomenology, I demonstrate that the core of this identity must be accounted for otherwise than as the temporal unity of transcendental consciousness or that of Dasein, that it must be understood as both a proto-temporal and proto-spatial unity of that which Richir calls “absolute here”, which is the genetic condition of Husserl’s “zero point” as the centre of all bodily orientations.

Keywords: Subjectivity; Identity; Selfhood; Event; Body; French Phenomenology; Marc Richir

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